The Government changed its mining plans because New Zealanders love their National Parks and because of the economic value of the country's clean, green brand, the Green Party said today.
"It's a victory for commonsense," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei. "You look after the things you love, and thousands of New Zealanders have reminded John Key of this simple truth over the last year. As a result, we've changed the agenda on mining in New Zealand."
The Green Party's petition to protect National Parks from mining was signed by more than 47,000 New Zealanders, while 42,000 made submissions on the mining plans to the Ministry of Economic Development. A further 40,000 marched down Auckland's Queen St in May to protest the plans.
The 2precious2mine coalition brought together a wide variety of environmental NGOs and was instrumental in the campaign.
The Government also failed to make an economic case for mining the parks, said Mrs Turei.
"The numbers never added up. Our 100% pure brand and our tourism industries are worth far more than mining in our National Parks could ever be. You look after the things you love and you also look after the things you need. Kiwis are incredibly proud of our wilderness areas and they also understand that we rely on them economically."
It was wise of the Government to heed the public concern, said Mrs Turei, noting that her predecessor Jeanette Fitzsimons CNZM made public consultation a requirement in the Crown Minerals Act in before any changes to Schedule 4 land.
"Jeanette is a really wise woman and made sure that the law required public consultation. She helped give ordinary Kiwis a voice so they could look after Schedule 4 land which represents the very best of the best of our conservation land."
The Green Party was part of a broad and deep response to the Government's mining plans, challenging the claim that the Government's plan was just a 'stock take' last August and then, last October, revealing that the 'stock take' included Mt Aspiring National Park, among others.
"I am so proud of what the green movement has accomplished, and that these precious places will still be there for future generations," Mrs Turei said.